Prepare to Answer These 17 Questions for Prospective Clients

Good communication is a critical part of the relationship between a WordPress professional and his or her client. Without it, you could end up taking a project in the wrong direction, leaving yourself way over budget, in the weeds, and struggling to regain your client’s trust.

Oftentimes, however, we focus on how to have positive communications and control the conversation with clients once they actually are clients. Keep in mind that prospective clients will want to interview you before they ever agree to work with you. If they don’t trust you, if they don’t like what you’re selling, if they’re just not “feeling it”, you might not get their business at all.

This article will cover the 17 questions you should be prepared to answer for prospective clients. If you want to get ahead of the game and show clients how truly prepared and qualified you are, you will master the answers to these questions.

17 Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer for Prospective Clients

Entrusting the build or design of a WordPress site to someone outside the company is an expensive risk your clients have to take, and so it makes sense they would come ready to grill you about your experience, intentions, and commitment to the project before signing on the dotted line.

Here are the 17 questions you should be prepared to answer for prospective clients:

1. How long have you been in business?

The client is looking for a couple assurances here. First, they want to know that you’re no spring chicken. Secondly, they want to see if you have experience working in their area of expertise. Also, they probably want to make sure your freelance business isn’t going to fold in the middle of the project.

2. What services do you offer?

This is the time when you should discuss what your WordPress development or design services entail. If you offer anything above and beyond that, mention it. It’s always good to start laying the foundation for a future upsell.

This is also your chance to “justify” your pricing. Prospective clients are going to want to know:

  • How much your services cost (per hour or per project).
  • What is included in that price and what is not. (In other words, why do you charge so much.)
  • How you expect them to pay (both method of payment as well as schedule).

3. Why WordPress?

17 Questions - WordPress CMS
Just one of the many reasons why WordPress is the best.

There are so many reasons you can give for this. WordPressis free to use. It’s easy to scale as a site grows. It’s secure. It’s the most popular content management system in the world. It’s a great tool for generating leads and sales. It’s easy to use. Take your pick.

4. Will this be a custom design?

 

Some clients may not be savvy enough to even know what a WordPress theme is or to think to ask this. That said, I would suggest you address it now so there are no surprises down the road. Let them know if your WordPress development services will leave them with a 100% custom website or if your implementation services rely heavily on a WordPress theme.

Make sure to emphasize the reasoning behind why you build sites this way as well as the benefits of working in that manner.

5. Can I see examples of work you’ve done?

Ideally, your WordPress site has an impressive portfolio of work you can point them to. If that’s not the case, then send them the live links of websites you’re the most proud of. If possible, select ones that are similar in nature to what they want.

And don’t just show them the websites. Talk to them about what the client’s original pain was and how you addressed it as you designed the new WordPress site for them. Then, be sure to explain the results they saw after the site launched. Did their search rank improve? Did sales shoot up by the end of the year? Did they receive more backlinks from high-authority domains?

6. Do you handle everything on your own?

This could potentially be a loaded question, so be careful about how you answer it. Here is what they’re really asking:

  • Are you the only person working on this website? (And does that mean I have to wait a year for it to get done?)
  • Is all the work done in-house? (If not, how do you work effectively with so many remote team members? Do you even know and trust them? And should I?)
  • Do you have a project manager handling the project flow? (Or should I expect you to get back to me only once everything is done?)

Now, there’s nothing wrong with saying that you work solo, that you outsource tasks to trusted team members overseas, or that you prefer to handle the project management on your own. Or vice versa. It’s all in how you paint it. Be confident that your setup leads to the highest quality results and then show them proof of it.

7. What sort of timeline are we looking at?

This is a tricky one to answer as the official delivery of a WordPress site often depends on how quickly the client is able to get back to you with requested materials, information, and feedback.

What you can do instead is provide them with projected milestones. For instance, you can break down each individual task with a projected turnaround time (e.g. competitive analysis takes five business days, wireframing the site takes two days, etc.). Or that they will be billed upon the completion of each project phase.

Make it clear that you have a well-thought-out process in place and that you intend on completing the job within a reasonable timeframe. But do also stress the importance of their timely involvement and communication in order to meet those expectations.

8. Can you tell me about your process?

This is an excellent opportunity to sell this prospective client on your services. Show them your project management and communication tool. Provide them with examples of wireframes so they can see how the web design work will progress. Discuss how you handle design phases and how many revisions are included in each. Put them at ease now by demonstrating how well-prepared you are to build their WordPress site.

9. Will I have a chance to give feedback?

Take this time to show them your project management platform and stress the importance of using this to centralize all communications and keep everyone on the same page in terms of project status.

Also, re-emphasize the number of revisions allowed. While you do need client feedback in order to get a website done right, you want to ensure that it’s constructive and keeps moving the project forward. The best way to do this is to provide them with a prototyping and collaboration platform where they can honestly and clearly tell you what they do or don’t like.

And, of course, be sure to tell them about your rigorous QA process. Not only will you and your team review the site, but you will provide the client with wireframes, mockups, and eventually a working test site they can view and play around with before giving approval to launch it.

10. What will you do to make my site convert?

This, of course, requires an understanding of who the client is, what the purpose of the website is, and what the target audience will be willing to do. Do your research on this beforehand so you can come to them with light suggestions on what you think their WordPress site needs in terms of conversion generation techniques.

11. Can you make my site rank #1 on Google right away?

17 Questions - SmartCrawl Plugin
SmartCrawl should be at the center of your SEO strategy.

Unless their site already exists and is poised to break that top spot in search rankings, never promise that you can do this–especially if they’re expecting immediate results. Instead, talk to them about your SEO process and how you intend on using it to ensure their site has the best chance to rise through the rankings.

You can introduce the concept of the WordPress plugin here as well. Show them how SmartCrawl currently works in WordPress (on your website or a test site built strictly for these purposes).

You should also explain that this process of search optimization requires a lot of ongoing work, which should make for another chance to upsell them on future services!

12. Will my site be safe from hackers?

17 Questions - Defender Plugin
Give them an up-close look at Defender and show them how serious you are about security.

Assure the client that security is one of your top priorities whenever you develop websites (in addition to SEO and speed, of course).

You can talk a bit about the kinds of things you intend to do to ensure that their WordPress website is built tough against attackers. You may also want to emphasize the importance of choosing the right web hosting and SSL certificate at this time too. And, of course, don’t forget to mention Defender, which you will install on their site for managing and monitoring security.

13. Will my website be fast?

17 Questions - Hummingbird Plugin
With the powers of Hummingbird and Smush combined, performance will be the last thing clients have to worry about.

There is a chance they won’t think about asking this question as they might just assume that, when you build a website, it instantly loads whenever someone visits the domain. Without an understanding of something like caching or HTTP requests, this may not even cross their minds–which is why you should address it.

Talk to them about why a website really only has mere seconds to load if it wants to hold onto visitors. Then discuss how you plan on using a thorough performance optimization strategy in order to do that for them, which should include the mention of Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro.

14. Will my site be mobile-friendly?

If the prospective client asks this, I’d look at that as a good sign. When a client understands that something like responsive design (even if they don’t know it by that name or how it works) is an important part of the user experience, you know you’re working with someone who is going to take the process seriously.

If they’ve come to you with a WordPress theme they’ve already bought, you can review that with them in real time and discuss the responsive properties of it (if there are any). If they haven’t, then this is the time to talk to them about Google mobile-first indexing and how you intend on prioritizing this in the design phase.

15. Will I be able to make changes to the site?

Obviously, you don’t want the client poking around in WordPress while development is going on. But after all is said and done, yes, of course they will have the ability to make changes to the site.

First, let them know you provide WordPress training to clients before handing off a website. This will give you a sense for how much they will want to learn or, potentially, how much they might want to hand off to you if they want assistance with ongoing maintenance and support.

Next, explain the limitations of making updates in WordPress. They can create new pages, start a blog, and add images to their gallery or portfolio. But if they want to add something like live chat or an exit intent pop-up, they should add those kinds of premium features to the scope of work now so a professional developer can handle them.

If they mention plugins, talk about how they are indeed helpful, but that only trusted and well-vetted plugins should be used. Also emphasize that they should be careful about adding too many plugins since it can adversely affect site speed.

16. Will you give me access to the site when it’s all done?

When you hand off a WordPress site to a client, you won’t just be creating a username and account for them. You should let them know you will be handing off all materials that belong to them:

  • Admin WordPress access.
  • Web hosting, FTP, and control panel access (if you set it up for them).
  • Theme files and account access (if you purchased it from a premium repository).
  • Web design files in the native format.
  • Images used on the website.
  • Web copy (if you wrote it for them).
  • Any reports and analysis generated during the research phases.
  • Style guide or general design guidelines you created for the website.
  • Access to any third-party accounts you created (like social media, email marketing, CRM, etc.)

17. Do you offer ongoing support?

Not every client asks for this, but you should be prepared to answer the question regardless. And I would advise you not to be afraid to say “no” here. It’s okay if you only want to provide WordPress development services and don’t want to deal with ongoing system updates, design tweaks, and other maintenance requests.

Not offering additional support services is usually not a dealbreaker for prospective clients, especially if you explain how you intend on creating a custom admin interface for them.

Wrapping Up

When a client comes to you as a freelancer, they’re not going to ask “What’s your greatest weakness?” Instead, they’re going to focus on things like “Why should we use your services instead of building our site with Wix?” They want to know that their investment in you–over the competition as well as the seemingly easier-to-use and cheaper page builder tools–is the best choice. So, you better be ready to sell it to them.

Suzanne Scacca
What’s the strangest thing a prospective client has asked you?